The European Union and the Refugee Crisis of 2015/2016

Sarah Bech Stausbøll

Student thesis: Master thesis


The following research will examine the impact, if any, that the division between the Eastern and Western countries within the EU has on the creation of a common agenda on the area of migration in particular in relation to the refugee crisis of 2015/2016. This is a relevant topic because of the fact that the division has become more and more in focus the last couple of years and it will be of interest to see how much it actually affects the work within the European Union as different leaders of some of the Western countries in the EU have had the tendency to place the ‘blame’ on some Eastern countries, in particular the Visegrad countries.
In order to answer the research question described below, three interviews have been conducted and analyzed upon with the help from three different theories; tribalism, identity politics and intercultural conflict resolution styles. From these, it was concluded that the division has an impact on the work within the EU generally and that it is very visible on the area of migration. The reason for this has be found in fact that the refugee crisis was a global crisis. The reason why the ‘blame’ often falls on the shoulders of the Visegrad countries can be found in Viktor Orban of Hungary being a very verbal and somewhat controversial political leader. It was, furthermore, concluded that the Eastern countries, Visegrad in particular, focus highly upon both tribalism and identity politics, which is expressed by withdrawal from fundamental democratic values as well and the embrace of anti-immigration and anti-globalization values. Furthermore, it became visible that the two pillars –the East and West of Europe, uses very different and incompatible styles of intercultural conflict resolution. These points result in the fact that the division between East and West impacts, not exclusively the work on migration, but the work generally within the EU.
Lastly, it was found, which is interesting in connection to future research, that anti-globalization and anti-immigration values become very apparent in times of global crisis. With this in mind, this thesis will in the end provide implications for future research in reference to the covid-19 virus, which can definitely also be characterized as an intercultural and global crisis, which causes for countries to close borders and focus highly upon protecting their own nation and national values/norms.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages80
SupervisorsMagali Gravier